Monthly Archives: April 2012

March Pending Home Sales Rise, Market Recovering

Pending home sales increased in March and are well above a year ago, another signal the housing market is recovering, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.

The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, rose 4.1 percent to 101.4 in March from an upwardly revised 97.4 in February and is 12.8 percent above March 2011 when it was 89.9.  The data reflects contracts but not closings.

The index is now at the highest level since April 2010 when it reached 111.3.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said 2012 is expected to be a year of recovery for housing.  “First quarter sales closings were the highest first quarter sales in five years.  The latest contract signing activity suggests the second quarter will be equally good,” he said. 

“The housing market has clearly turned the corner.  Rising sales are bringing down inventory and creating much more balanced conditions around the county, which means home prices will be rising in more areas as the year progresses,” Yun said.

Pending Home Sales Index by Region: 

Northeast: slipped 0.8 percent to 78.2 in March but is 21.1 percent above March 2011. 

Midwest: declined 0.9 percent to 93.3 but is 16.9 percent higher than a year ago. 

South: rose 5.9 percent to an index of 114.1 in March and are 10.6 percent above March 2011. 

West: increased 8.7 percent in March to 108.0 and is 9.0 percent above a year ago.

Source: NAR

Read More

This Spring Is True Test to Real Estate Recovery

 

LA Times – California home values’ year-over-year climb is first since 2010

The median home price in California rises to $251,000 in March, up 0.8% from a year earlier. Number of sales jumps 2.9%.

Homes under construction

A pedestrian in Alhambra walks past a construction site. In Southern California, March’s median home price — $280,000 — was down just 0.2% from a year earlier. (Frederic J. Brown, AFP/Getty Images / April 19, 2012)

California's median home price posted its first year-over-year gain since the fall of 2010 as sales picked up with the end of the traditionally sluggish winter season.

The Golden State's median home price in March rose 0.8% from the same month last year to hit $251,000. It was the first year-over-year increase since September 2010; that October, home values sank after the expiration of popular tax credits aimed at boosting the market. Last month's median price rose 5% from February, San Diego real estate firm DataQuick reported Thursday.

The year-over-year increase was small, but if prices hold, it could mark the first step toward a recovery.

"While the changes we're seeing are incremental, they're incremental in a positive direction," DataQuick President John Walsh said.

The bottom of the market was hit during the depths of the financial crisis in April 2009, when the state's median home price was $221,000.

The median is the point at which half the homes in the state sold for more and half for less. The median can be influenced by the types of homes selling. The high number of foreclosed homes and other so-called distressed properties remain a sizable weight on the market, and such sales have helped pull down the median price for months.

The number of sales increased 2.9% from March 2010 to hit 37,481. That was up 26.5% from February, a normal surge as winter gives way to spring and more people begin moving.

Sales of distressed homes — foreclosures and short sales — made up more than half of the market. Of all previously owned homes sold last month, 1 in 3 was a foreclosure and close to 1 in 5 was a short sale, in which a home is sold for less than the debt on the property.

In Southern California, the median home price of $280,000 was flat, down just 0.2% from March 2011, and a 5.8% increase from February. The number of sales increased 2.8% year-over-year to 19,953 homes in the six-county region, DataQuick reported. Sales improved the most in Orange, Ventura and San Diego counties.

Bay Area home sales notched their best March in five years as prices appeared to level off. Sales rose 9.1% from March 2011, totaling 7,694 across the nine-county region, and up 34.9% from the prior month. The region's median price was $358,000, down 0.6% from the same month a year earlier and up 10.2% from February.

The median price improved year-over-year in Napa, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties. In San Francisco County, it was unchanged.

Nationally in March, buyers picked up 2.6% fewer existing homes — pushing the seasonally adjusted annual rate down to 4.48 million from February's 4.6 million, according to the National Assn. of Realtors.

In the West, sales were down 7.4% from February and down 0.9% from March 2011. Last month's median price of $198,300 was 1.6% higher than that of a year earlier.

alejandro.lazo@latimes.com

Times staff writer Tiffany Hsu contributed to this report.

LA Times – California home values’ year-over-year climb is first since 2010

The median home price in California rises to $251,000 in March, up 0.8% from a year earlier. Number of sales jumps 2.9%.

Homes under construction

A pedestrian in Alhambra walks past a construction site. In Southern California, March’s median home price — $280,000 — was down just 0.2% from a year earlier. (Frederic J. Brown, AFP/Getty Images / April 19, 2012)

California's median home price posted its first year-over-year gain since the fall of 2010 as sales picked up with the end of the traditionally sluggish winter season.

The Golden State's median home price in March rose 0.8% from the same month last year to hit $251,000. It was the first year-over-year increase since September 2010; that October, home values sank after the expiration of popular tax credits aimed at boosting the market. Last month's median price rose 5% from February, San Diego real estate firm DataQuick reported Thursday.

The year-over-year increase was small, but if prices hold, it could mark the first step toward a recovery.

"While the changes we're seeing are incremental, they're incremental in a positive direction," DataQuick President John Walsh said.

The bottom of the market was hit during the depths of the financial crisis in April 2009, when the state's median home price was $221,000.

The median is the point at which half the homes in the state sold for more and half for less. The median can be influenced by the types of homes selling. The high number of foreclosed homes and other so-called distressed properties remain a sizable weight on the market, and such sales have helped pull down the median price for months.

The number of sales increased 2.9% from March 2010 to hit 37,481. That was up 26.5% from February, a normal surge as winter gives way to spring and more people begin moving.

Sales of distressed homes — foreclosures and short sales — made up more than half of the market. Of all previously owned homes sold last month, 1 in 3 was a foreclosure and close to 1 in 5 was a short sale, in which a home is sold for less than the debt on the property.

In Southern California, the median home price of $280,000 was flat, down just 0.2% from March 2011, and a 5.8% increase from February. The number of sales increased 2.8% year-over-year to 19,953 homes in the six-county region, DataQuick reported. Sales improved the most in Orange, Ventura and San Diego counties.

Bay Area home sales notched their best March in five years as prices appeared to level off. Sales rose 9.1% from March 2011, totaling 7,694 across the nine-county region, and up 34.9% from the prior month. The region's median price was $358,000, down 0.6% from the same month a year earlier and up 10.2% from February.

The median price improved year-over-year in Napa, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties. In San Francisco County, it was unchanged.

Nationally in March, buyers picked up 2.6% fewer existing homes — pushing the seasonally adjusted annual rate down to 4.48 million from February's 4.6 million, according to the National Assn. of Realtors.

In the West, sales were down 7.4% from February and down 0.9% from March 2011. Last month's median price of $198,300 was 1.6% higher than that of a year earlier.

alejandro.lazo@latimes.com

Times staff writer Tiffany Hsu contributed to this report.

Bidding Wars Are Back, Agents Say

Some real estate markets are reporting that home buyers are having to pay more than asking price to get the home they desire, as the supply of for-sale homes has shrunk, Bloomberg News reports. 

Bidding wars were a common part of real estate in 2006. But when the market turned from a “seller’s market” to “buyer’s market,” more sellers started seeing lowball bids than high bids. Now times are slowly changing, and bidding wars are being reported in several markets, such as in Seattle, Boston, Silicon Valley, Miami, and Washington, D.C., Bloomberg reports. 

The inventory of homes for-sale is near a six-year low. Mixed with the low inventory, the job market has been improving and buyers are being lured to the record level of affordability in the housing market. Existing-home sales and pending home sales are up more than 8 percent compared to a year earlier, the National Association of REALTORS® recently reported. Trulia Inc. also reported that falling home values and low mortgage rates have made home buying a better deal than renting in 98 of the 100 largest metro areas.

“The housing crash is finally giving way to recovery in an increasing number of markets across the country,” Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, told Blommberg. “The decline in unsold listings and vacant homes and the increase in rents presage better times ahead for single-family housing.”

Source: “Bidding Wars Erupt as Supply of Available Homes Shrink,” Bloomberg News (March 31, 2012)

Read More

February Existing-Home Sales Slip But Up Strongly From a Year Ago

Buying Is Cheaper Than Renting in Nearly All Major Cities